How to Find Your Passion: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself
How to Find Your Passion: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself
Apart from grades, test scores, and essays, what colleges really want to see and understand is the human behind the application. Not only are they curious about your personality and your character, or what kind of student you will be; they are looking for sincerely passionate individuals.
In all honesty, the majority of high school students have no idea what their passion is, and that’s okay! If you have a sense of exactly what you enjoy and what you want to do in the future, you should still look deeper and see what you find. When thinking about how to find your passion, here are 5 questions to ask yourself, no matter where you are on the spectrum of certainty. If you have a few hobbies or interests that you want to grow, but aren’t sure where to start, now is the time to more clearly define your passion.
1. How do I spend my free time already?
While this may seem like a simple question, it is one that every student should regularly ask themselves throughout their high school career. The earlier you start pinpointing what you like to do with your free time, the easier it will be to deepen that interest or your involvement in specific activities.
Try tracking your free time for one month, keeping a record of what you do when you’re not studying. More importantly, make note of how these activities make you feel and your level of interest and investment in them. Honesty is key during this process, as your candid thoughts should take precedence over those of your parents or mentors. A hobby forced upon you will rarely become a genuine passion.
Be sure to include extracurricular activities, community service, and other personal or academic projects not directly related to your schoolwork. Think outside the box, too – that stamp collection passed on from your grandmother that you’ve been adding to every time you travel is more interesting than you think, and likely full of great stories.
If you’re wondering how to find your passion, do not limit yourself by looking at something that directly connects to a college major or profession. You may be surprised to find where your true interests are after a little self-reflection.
2. What topics and activities genuinely excite me?
Whenever I am really interested in something, I often can’t help but want to blab on and on about it with whomever will listen. Are there any specific topics that you gravitate toward in conversations? Are you part of online or offline communities where you actively engage with others who share that same particular interest (i.e. photography, social activism, sleight of hand card tricks, etc.)?
Alternatively, have you ever learned about something at school that you researched more seriously on your own? While it’s common for an idea or concept to pique your interest when first introduced during class, taking the initiative to look deeper shows curiosity and dedication. If you are still reading every article about space travel and life beyond Earth that you can get your hands on (a year after that one astronomy unit in science class), this is likely a genuine interest you should consider developing further.
While it is easier said than done, practice reducing the activities that are not keeping your attention. It’s more important to identify and hold on to what you really love.
3. Would I wake up early on the weekend for this?
If you are anything like I was as a student, you often stay up late to finish projects and set two alarms to make sure you catch the school bus the next day. All that time spent during the weekdays focused on schoolwork and homework meant snoozing every weekend. But sometimes, there are things you are willing to wake up for – better yet, are excited to wake up for.
Maybe you volunteer at a homeless shelter as the team leader every Saturday morning, or go to the school tennis courts to face off a yet-undefeated friend, or simply stay in to check another movie off your must-see list. It doesn’t matter what “your thing” is right now, so long as you actually enjoy it and are devoted to investing your time and effort into it. When determining how to find your passion, think about the things that already get you going.
4. Do I want to learn more or deepen my commitment?
Reflect on your current level of involvement in various activities. Are you satisfied with what you know or what you are doing right now? Wanting to get more deeply involved is often a sign that you are willing to accept greater responsibilities or challenges because you are passionate. So, what lengths would you go to?
Almost anything you do can be expanded upon as long as you are motivated. Even if your favorite hobby is playing computer games while wolfing down ranch Doritos, maybe you also have an interest in game development. Researching computer game design, teaching yourself basic programming, and eventually crafting a text-based adventure game can take you from pure hobbyist to semi-skilled creator. Do you have any hobbies or activities in which you seek progressively engaging tasks or roles? That’s a sign to take note of if you’re wondering how to find your passion.
5. Do I have future goals or plans?
Do you envision the long-term outcomes you could achieve? Do you dream of where you could go from wherever you are at this moment? Do you have concrete goals, or have you made plans for what you want to do with your hobby/interest in the future? These may be small goals you have visualized but never written down or openly discussed, or grandiose ideals you someday hope to realize. If your passion is real, staying committed is a given and having next steps in mind will usually come naturally.
Remember that “passion” does not have to start as a specific activity. There is no correct answer when considering how to find your passion! Your passion could be motivated by your life motto – the person you want to be known as. Perhaps you want to live simply, kindly, always helping others. Your passion could evolve under this single theme, as you pledge to live a minimalist lifestyle with less materialism, devote three nights a week to aiding the less fortunate, and kickoff a fundraising campaign by selling homemade crafts. Impressive, right? Any interest holds this same kind of potential. In some cases, passion will come naturally and permeate your life. Otherwise, taking the time to sincerely explore your hobbies and interests can boost your awareness of new, developing, or existing passions. Ask yourself these 5 questions to help you dive deeper!